Lauren and Chris wanted an intimate wedding that allowed them to spend time with each of their guests, and they accomplished that with an elegant ceremony and reception at Charleston’s William Aiken House. From the bride’s romantic ruffled gown to the delicious menu, we love how these newlyweds chose to celebrate their special day.
Did you include any special items in your wedding? I carried a clutch made by one of my aunts that included a piece of my late godmother’s wedding dress, which meant a great deal to me. My grandmother gave me a hankie that I carried as well. Something else that meant a lot to me was my something blue: my Nana couldn’t be at the wedding, so I wore a ring of hers with tiny sapphires for the night. Chris’s mom also gave me a bowl that has been in his family for many years a few days before the wedding, with a book called The 5 Love Languages, which was incredibly sweet.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Try to just trust anyone you’ve hired to plan that portion of your wedding. They know what to do, and they’ll make it great. A day before the wedding some of our flowers weren’t working out (a garland for the entryway) and Heather (from Gathering Events) had a great idea for what to do but it was something she hadn’t done before. We told her to just go with it. Also, try to take as many pictures as you can beforehand. It felt great to not worry about anything after the ceremony other than celebrating being married together and remembering those moments with our family and friends.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We chose to have both the wedding and the ceremony at one spot: the William Aiken House. We wanted an outdoor garden wedding where everyone could celebrate immediately after the ceremony and not have to stress and worry about finding another location or find things to do waiting for a reception to begin. We planned a relatively small wedding because we wanted everyone to feel casual and like we were all part of the same family, not Chris’s family and Lauren’s family or Chris’s friends and Lauren’s friends, and we wanted to spend a lot of quality time with each of our guests.
“We planned our ceremony with the help of our officiant, Melanie Murray from Weddings Your Way. She provided us with a few templates for ceremonies that she has used in the past and we customized the ceremony to our wants. One thing that was very important to us was having one of Chris’s sisters do a poetry reading at the wedding. We wanted the wedding to feel like a reflection of our backgrounds and inclusive of our families.”
Your ceremony in three words. Loving, playful, poetic.
What was your ceremony music? We had a String Duo play at the wedding. One of our favorite moments was seeing Lauren’s grandmother walk down the aisle to “Moon River”.
What were your ceremony readings? We had one of Chris’s sisters, Katie, read “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd Arian Peterson.
What were your vows like? Our vows were traditional. It was very important to Chris that we do traditional vows because he felt that traditional vows were powerful as they’ve been used in generation after generation – we were married using the same words of commitment that our parents used.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? When Chris jumped the gun on saying “I Do”!
“I would describe our reception as laid back and inclusive, with delicious food and drinks. One of our main goals for the reception was to make all our guests feel like they’ve known each other for years. We wanted our reception to feel like an informal cocktail party with plenty of mingling. We chose to do stations instead of a sit-down dinner so we could minimize breaks between drinking and dancing, and we had no assigned seating so everyone could get to know each other, which worked great.”
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? My dad and I started dancing to “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole and then surprised everyone with breaking out into the Twist! We even had a little bit of acting in pretending like the DJ messed up the song. Another favorite moment was when our DJ surprised us with a Backstreet Boys song after I went on in email after email about the 90s. It got everyone on the dance floor and was hilarious! My dad also gave the most heartfelt speech during the cake cutting to Chris and me.
What songs did you dance to? Our first dance was to “Real Love” by The Beatles. My dad and I danced to “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole and then broke out into the Twist, and Chris and his mom danced to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.
Please tell us about any other special moments from your reception. My grandma adores Chris, so when our guests clinked their glasses one time, Chris gave her a kiss and said it was the last time. It was such a funny moment for everyone.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We had Pimm’s Cups served during cocktail hour. Otherwise, we had a regular full bar for our guests.
What was your wedding menu? Deciding on our wedding menu was definitely our favorite part of the planning process (Chris had a little too much fun with the sampling of pies when we were planning the menu). Chris and I are pretty adventurous when it comes to food, and so are a lot of our friends, so we chose food that was both fun for us to try and enjoy, but didn’t scare off other people. We had three stations: Crab Cakes and Black Eyed Pea Relish, Short Ribs with Haricot Vert, and Shrimp and Grits. We ended up doing a “Southern Display” with some deviled eggs, local cheeses, and boiled peanut hummus. We had passed appetizers of Chicken and Waffles, Goat Cheese Egg Rolls, Truffle Lobster Tarts, and Smoked Salmon on Cucumbers. We were lucky that our coordinators had us go into a room by ourselves so we could try everything!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We served a cake that was Lemon with Lemon Curd and Lemon Buttercream, and Almond and Almond Buttercream. We also decided to do a pie station which was a lot of fun, with Raspberry Pie, Banana Cream Pie, and Pecan Pie.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received as a bride came from Chris’s mom: she told us to plan our honeymoon first.